You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Top Stories

BREAKING Tommy Robinson jailed for nine months for contempt of court

Mirror logo Mirror 11/07/2019 Tanveer Mann
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Tommy Robinson has been jailed for nine months for contempt of court over a video he broadcast on social media which featured defendants in a criminal trial.

The far-right extremist , 36, was found guilty of the offence at the Old Bailey last week.

The court heard how Robinson was "subjectively reckless" by breaching a reporting ban barring publication of details about the case.

a group of people walking down the street: Robinson arrived late to court for his sentencing © Ben Cawthra/LNP Robinson arrived late to court for his sentencing The former EDL leader, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, filmed defendants in the trial and broadcast it on Facebook in May last year.

There were ugly scenes as crowds of supporters gathered outside court this morning for his sentencing, with police officers being shoved and smoke bombs being let off.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Hundreds of Robinson supporters gathered outside the Old Bailey © PA Hundreds of Robinson supporters gathered outside the Old Bailey

Robinson denied encouraging violence against defendants in the grooming trial when he gave evidence during contempt of court proceedings but he was convicted last week.

This morning, he arrived late to court where hundreds of supporters had gathered to see him.

Tommy Robinson et al. posing for the camera: Robinson arriving at the Old Bailey for his sentencing this morning © PA Robinson arriving at the Old Bailey for his sentencing this morning He was seen wearing a shirt that read: ‘Convicted of journalism’.

Richard Furlong, representing Robinson, had to apologise for the 36-year-old's late arrival.

One of the judges replied: "It's not a very good start."

a group of people around each other: Ugly scenes as supporters gather outside court © Provided by Reach Publishing Services Limited Ugly scenes as supporters gather outside court

On Tuesday, the High Court gave its reasons for finding Robinson in contempt of court, stating that he encouraged “vigilante action” against the defendants when he filmed them and broadcast the footage live on Facebook.

Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Warby found the 36-year-old was in contempt in three respects when he filmed men accused of the sexual exploitation of young girls and live-streamed the footage, in breach of a reporting ban, outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018.

Giving reasons for the decision on Tuesday, Dame Victoria said that, while Robinson claimed his intention was to "denounce the media" for their behaviour towards him and others, the words he used in the video would have been understood by viewers as "an incitement" to harass the defendants.

Dame Victoria said the dangers of using the "un-moderated platforms" of social media, with its "unparalleled speed and reach", are obvious and that Robinson's conduct created a risk that the defendants would be intimidated.

a group of people sitting in front of a store: Robinson denied encouraging violence against defendants in the grooming trial © PA Robinson denied encouraging violence against defendants in the grooming trial The judges also found that Robinson was "quite deliberately" reporting on the case, which he had told his viewers was the subject of a reporting restriction, and rejected his evidence that he had made checks in the court as "not credible".

Dame Victoria said Robinson's right to freedom of expression "could not justify an interference with fair trial rights".

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

She added: "The rule of law demands that those who act in such a way as to subvert due process should be held to account, whether or not they actually threaten the fairness of the end result.

"These are essential principles which must be given weight in a democratic society."

More than 200 supporters gathered around a makeshift stage in front of a double-decker bus, chanting his name and shouting “shame, shame” at journalists.

A number of Robinson's supporters who gathered outside the court on Thursday and Friday reacted angrily after the result was announced.

Robinson broadcast the footage while the jury in the second of a series of linked grooming trials was considering its verdict.

A reporting restriction was in place which postponed the publication of any details of the case until the end of all the trials involving 29 people, in a bid to ensure all defendants received a fair trial.

Robinson, from Luton, Bedfordshire, was jailed for 13 months after being found in contempt of court on the day of the broadcast.

The video lasted an hour-and-a-half and was viewed online 250,000 times after being live-streamed on Facebook. It was eventually viewed 3.4 million times after being shared following his arrest.

Tommy Robinson standing in front of a crowd: Robinson served two months in jail before being freed after the original finding of contempt was overturned in 2018 © PA Robinson served two months in jail before being freed after the original finding of contempt was overturned in 2018

He served two months in jail before being freed after the original finding of contempt was overturned by the Court of Appeal in August 2018.

But the case was then referred back to the Attorney General, who announced in March that it was in the public interest to bring fresh proceedings against Robinson.

Dame Victoria and Mr Justice Warby gave permission for the Attorney General to bring a new case against Robinson at a hearing in May.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Mirror

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon